Most people have seen the video or pics by now, but a Dell laptop exploded into flames last month in Osaka, Japan. I have nothing against Dell, and I have little or no knowledge of what could cause a fire like this, but my uninformed opinion is that as technology increases in complexity, and as it is adopted faster and faster by novices, the pressure to push out technology ahead of proper safety tests will increase as well.
Dell says the Osaka fire was caused by a faulty battery cell (and was therefore unrelated to Dell’s technology). In fact, according to an International Herald Tribune article, Dell’s VP of group corporate communications, Bob Pearson, said, “”It’s very, very rare to have a thermal incident.”
If you missed that, here it is again. “A thermal incident.” Here’s one photo of the fire (posted at the technology site The Inquirer):
This, apparently, is a thermal incident. The report of the fire said the blaze continued for five minutes or more.
I have nothing against Dell. I’ve used them a lot. (My work computer is a Dell). But this is one more example of corporate speak. Why can’t they just say, “Wow, what a fire!” or “Who brought the hot dogs?”
Instead, everybody’s ducking and dodging the truth. It could have been any company’s computer, but a computer did in fact burst into flames.
In light of the spate of cell phone explosions (in Holland, Vietnam, and Nebraska), the Engadget blog called cell phones “Little bombs that we use to make phone calls.” Now that’s reporting the truth.
Excuse me, my bomb is ticking…I mean, ringing.